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By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/10/2010 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The Lord is hearing the prayers of His Church

We are living in a Church which is over 2000 years old. It is the Church which Jesus Christ himself founded. It is His Plan for the salvation of the whole world and He has not changed His mind. Church history follows a predictable pattern. Just when the naysayers are ready to count Christ's Church out, the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, is poured out in a profound way to kindle a spark which ignites a fire of renewal and restoration. So it is in this hour.

Don Bosco saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope.

Don Bosco saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

9/10/2010 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - In the last few months we have reported on the good news of the growth in vocations to the priesthood, the Diaconate in Christ, the consecrated and religious life and the lay ecclesial movements. For example, we reported on the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, before they appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show as well as after .  Recently we told the inspiring story of  Mount Carmel for America, calling the monks "Messengers of New Springtime." 

The last two Popes have been explicit in their praise of what are referred to as "ecclesial movements" in the Church. These movements share common identifying marks such as their lay status and their missionary impulse. Though their charisms, missions and emphases differ, they are seen corporately as a resource for the Church in this age which needs a New Evangelization. They are also becoming an increasingly vital resource for the missionary work of the Church.  

We have filed a series of reports on their growth and their wonderful influence in the lives of many, as well as their continuing contribution to the work of a new missionary age. Sonja Corbitt provided a review of the movements and we followed with specific reports on several of them. We have more planned for the months ahead.

We are launching a "Vocations Channel" on Catholic Online where we will report on new and renewed religious orders, the growth in vocations to the consecrated life, the monastic life and the ecclesial movements. All of this is part of our ongoing commitment to report on the "Good News" in a time which is filled with bad news. The Lord is hearing the prayers of His Church as follow the admonition of Jesus to "pray to the Master of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest." (Matt. 9:38, Luke 10:2)  

We are happy to report that there are signs of a reversal of the decline in seminary enrollment.   A recent report on the Sacred Heart School of Theology by Annysa Johnson in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is an example. Sacred Heart is one of several seminaries focused on serving the growing number of "older" men who are responding to the call to the holy priesthood in this hour. The trend was addressed by Tim Drake in an article he recently wrote for the National Catholic Register entitled "The Coming Vocation Explosion".

None of this should surprise us; it should inspire, encourage and motivate us. We are living in a Church which is over 2000 years old. It is the Church which Jesus Christ himself founded. It is His Plan for the salvation of the whole world and He has not changed His mind. Church history follows a predictable pattern. Just when the naysayers are ready to count Christ's Church out, the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, is poured out in a profound way to kindle a spark which ignites a fire of renewal and restoration.

Ours is not the first time the Church has faced a hostile culture. The parallels between the declining West and the world of the first few centuries of the Church are increasing. Remember, it was the Church which triumphed. So it will be once again. In addition, this is not the first time in 2,000 years that evil and sin found its way into the Church. It is always revealed by the light of the Holy Spirit and, because the Church is God's plan, she is purified and strengthened in order to continue her mission. 

In its treatment of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood. [St. Augustine, Serm. 96, 7, 9: PL 38, 588; St. Ambrose, De virg. 18, 118: PL 16, 297B; cf. already 1 Pet 3:20-21] [30, 953, 1219]"

Zenit news reported on Tuesday, September 8, 2010 that the " relics of St. John Bosco will arrive Saturday in San Francisco to begin the U.S. and Canadian segments of a worldwide tour. The relics have been traveling worldwide in preparation for Don Bosco's 200th birthday celebration, which will take place in 2015."  Don Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society and walked in a wonderful communion with the Lord. He also lived during another difficult time in the world and in the Church.

He had a vision concerning the threats facing the Church which has been the source of much speculation and reflection. Images of the vision have been painted by many. The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment.

In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean. On one was a golden Monstrance with the Holy Eucharist exposed within it. The column was inscribed with the words "Salvation of Believers". The other column held an Image of Mary, the Mother of God, inscribed with the words "The Help of Christians". Here are words which purportedly reflect those spoken by the Saint:

"The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up but, struck down a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.

"Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns and moors it to the two columns; first to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other. Some auxiliary ships which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship are the first to tie up at the two columns."

This is a vision which could describe some of what is occurring in our own day. We have been blessed with very holy successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns. One was even shot but saved through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin on a Marian Feast day. Both have been engaged in doing battle with those forces which oppose the Church while steering her safely through the twin poles which certainly stand for orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Now, seminaries are beginning to fill, vocations are increasing and the Fields are ripe for harvest. Pray for Workers for the Harvest and then go into the vineyard. We we all have a role to play in this new missionary age.  


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.


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